Sometimes they just come out and say it. I always prefer when they do that.
The plan leaves room for another major future component not directly included in this expansion, officials said: Tulane University’s major parcel along the river, currently leased to Mardi GrasWhat we're talking about here is allocation of public resources and tax dollars to the construction of a privately run hotel with condos, retail space, and various other attractions including (possibly) a yacht harbor and a "moving sidewalk" in order to give conventioneers a more "Disney" type of experience and "put Tulane's brand in front of a million people a year," which must be very important.. to Tulane.
That property was once considered for a “Riversphere” facility that would include educational and research components, and Convention Center officials support Tulane’s plans in that direction.
Whatever Tulane does, they said, would only be a further draw for convention-goers to return to New Orleans.
“What we want to do with this is make it a new experience in New Orleans,” said convention center general manager Bob Johnson. “It’s the old Disney theory: Every two or three years, Disney opens a new attraction and people that are familiar with Disney will go back. … It would also put Tulane’s brand in front of a million people a year.”
What's important to New Orleanians might be different from what's important to the tourism industry, though. Despite the industry's relentless insistence that everything it does is a great benefit to the community, the tax revenue it generates actually contributes almost nothing to the city budget.
To his credit, Mayor Landrieu proposed (ever so slightly) altering this arrangement during the recent legislative session but was unsuccessful in his modest effort.
The mayor is currently holding a series of community budget meetings where he answers public comments about the city's priorities. At those meetings you hear a lot about fixing streets, hiring police, and paying firefighters. Nobody says much about building Disney stuff or promoting "Tulane's brand."
Tonight's District A meeting is at the Lakeview Christian Center: 5885 Fleur de Lis Drive beginning at 6:30. It will be live-blogged by The Lens